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2014 AEN Fall Meetings Summary

The 2014 AEN Fall Meetings were held on November 22, 2014 in Calgary. This gathering included a presentation from the Alberta Energy Regulator; updates from the Synergy Alberta Conference; updates from AEN representatives to the Joint Oil Sands Monitoring Advisory Committees; and face-to-face meetings of the Water and Clean Air & Energy Caucuses.

Contents

  1. Alberta Energy Regulator Update
  2. Synergy Conference Updates
  3. Canadian Environmental Network Update
  4. JOSM/AEMERA (Oil Sands Monitoring) Updates
  5. Caribou Updates
  6. Caucus Meetings

A total of 21 participants attended the meetings including representatives of the following groups:

  • Alberta Wilderness Asssociation
  • Canadian Society of Environmental Biologists
  • Ecojustice
  • Environmental Law Centre
  • Friends of the Chain Lakes
  • Mewassin Community Action Council
  • North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper
  • South Peace Environmental Association
  • Southern Alberta Group for the Environment
  • The Pembina Institute
  • Water Conservation Trust of Canada

Also in attendance were representatives of Alberta Environment & Sustainable Resource Development and the Alberta Energy Regulator.

1. Alberta Energy Regulator Update

Representatives of the Alberta Energy Regulator provided an update including stakeholder engagement activities, changes in public participation process, and the AER's ongoing relationship with AEN. A copy of the AER's presentation can be found below. In attendance on behalf of the AER were as follows:

  • Jennifer Lutz
    Director, Community Relations, Alberta Stakeholder Engagement
  • Deborah Eastlick
    Vice President, Alberta Stakeholder Engagement
  • Brent Prenevost
    Legal Counsel

The AER has also engaged the University of Pennsylvania to undertake a Best-in-Class Project with the following objectives:

  1. Identify the key attributes of a best in class regulator; 
  2. Understand how these attributes can be adopted by the AER; and
  3. Identify how the concept of best in class can be credibly measured.

AER has identified the AEN as an interested and important party to this research. This is an opportunity for AEN and its members to emphasize the environmental responsibility we expect from a "best-in-class" regulator.

Post meeting Update

Subsequent to the meeting, Jennifer Lutz of the AER provided some additional info in response to questions raised during the Fall Meetings.

How will the AER consider the new implementation of the Alberta Wetland Policy?

 

As noted in the Alberta Wetland Policy, the legislative basis for the policy will be the Water Act. In December 2012, the GoA passed the Responsible Energy Development Act (REDA) under which the AER operates. Under REDA, the AER has the authority to administer the Public Lands Act, part 8 of the Mines and Minerals Act, the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, and the Water Act, with regards to energy development. The Alberta Wetland Policy has not been taken through full policy implementation at this point. As the policy moves to implementation, ESRD will be the lead department and the AER will be engaged through the Policy Management Office to ensure we remain coordinated and have the tools to responsibly administer the Policy through our regulatory framework

What is the relationship or division of oversight moving forward between the AER and the AUC?

 

There are no anticipated changes between the relationship and division of oversight between the AER and AUC going forward. The AUC continues to regulate the utilities sector, natural gas and electricity markets. Whereas the AER is responsible for regulating the energy resource development life cycle of oil, oil sands, natural gas, and coal projects in Alberta from application and construction to production, abandonment, and reclamation.

Ms. Lutz also provided some additional information on AER's new Chief Environmental Scientist:

 

Dr. Monique Dubé joined the AER team today as Chief Environmental Scientist on September 08, 2014.

 

Monique brings 25 years of academic, regulatory, industry, and consulting experience to the AER. Monique was recruited to a Canada Research Chair in aquatic ecosystem health diagnosis at the University of Saskatchewan.  During that time, she also served as an adjunct professor and a science director of the Canadian Rivers Institute at the University of New Brunswick.

 

Her regulatory experience includes both federal and provincial exposure. Monique holds experience in the oil sands industry having worked in the environmental performance improvement divisions at both Shell Canada and Total. Her work has influenced federal legislation, national environmental impact assessment practices, and cumulative effects assessments for Canadian freshwaters, and has contributed to the development of patented technology for wastewater treatment.

2. Synergy Conference Up​dates


The AEN provided subsidies to number of members to attend the 2014 Synergy Alberta Conference in Edmonton on November 3-5, 2014. Additionally, a number of AEN members attended the conference as presenters. The following members were in attendance at the Fall Meetings and provided reports of their experience at the Conference:

  • Kristi Anderson, Mewassin Community Action Council
  • Glenn Isaac, North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper
  • Leonard Standingontheroad, Friends of Chain Lakes
  • Jason Unger, Environmental Law Centre
  • Ruth Yanor, Mewassin Community Action Council

The following members were unable to attend the Fall Meetings, but submitted written reports on the Synergy Conference:

  • Dale Christian, Butte Action Committee
  • Alexandra Frederickson, Land Stewardship Centre of Canada
  • Donna Mendelsohn, Central Athabasca Stewardship Society

Copies of the written reports are available upon request.

3. Canadian Environmental Network Update


Jospeh Hnatiuk provided an update on the activities of the Canadian Environmental Network (RCEN).

4. JOSM/AEMERA Updates


AEN representatives to the Joint Canada-Alberta Implementation Plan for Oil Sands Monitoring (JOSM) Component Advisory Committees provided updates. These representatives included:

Biodiversity

  • Carolyn Campbell, Alberta Wilderness Association

Water

  • Maureen Bell, Water Conservation Trust of Canada
  • Jason Unger, Environmental Law Centre

Air

  • Bob Cameron, South Peace Environmental Assocation

Wildlife Contaminants

  • Wayne Ungstad, Friend of the Chain Lakes

There are ongoing concerns regarding First Nations and Métis participation; prompt reporting of stakeholder input; and the adequacy of AEMERA's budget. In particular, there are concerns that the budget is based on industry's willingness to pay rather than on scientific rationale. Delegates also expressed that AEMERA's faces a "rocky road" in their attempts to establish credibility.

5. Caribou Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Group Updates


Delegates to the Caribou MSAGs indicated that the process has ground to a halt.

6. Caucus Meetings


The Clean Air & Energy, and Water Caucuses met to provide updates on ongoing consultations, initiatives, and activities. Please contact the respective Caucus Chair for more information.

Posted December 5, 2014 by AEN

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